Friday, November 4, 2016

Movie Review: Doctor Strange

The next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe adds a spiritual realm of magic and mysticism. Doctor Strange tells a tale almost wholly separate from the Avengers storyline that had ended in turmoil after Civil War. Steven Strange is played by Benedict Cumberbatch who does a great job as an arrogant neurosurgeon that necessitates a comparison to Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. Strange can do no wrong as he performs complicated surgeries with the help of Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) and speeds down the highway until a gruesome car accident. Director Scott Derrickson does a good job showing the cringy surgeries but avoiding any unnecessary violence.

The visuals will be the most memorable part of this film as Strange ventures to Nepal for a cure, he encounters the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and learns about the trippy astral projection. Those scenes are fun and awe-inspiring. I couldn't look away at the stunning effects and will be the reason I watch this film multiple times in the future. Seeing this movie in the theater really transcends the experience and I would highly recommend this movie to Marvel fans. In the end, it is a Marvel movie and takes a lot of the story cues from that even if the shifting New York City is something we haven't seen on screen before.

Swinton's performance is the greatest example of how this film is more silly fun than anything serious. Chiwetel Ejiofor is an extraordinary actor but his performance here is a bit over the top though still a lot of fun to watch as he hops around building and fights through time warps. There isn't much chemistry between Cumberbatch and McAdams but plenty of the laughs come from their interactions, especially during an astral projection fight scene. Wong (Benedict Wong) is also good for a few laughs and does a large majority of the explanations to keep the story moving.

The villain Kaecillius benefits from Mads Mikkelsen performance and strange purple eye makeup plus his powers to alter reality cause for an extraordinary chase scene. The whole plot and magic rules are brushed over rather quickly and the training felt rushed leaving me having a hard time believing that Strange could learn everything so fast but once the action rolls it's easy to roll with it as it has that crazed Marvel fun feeling about it.

I enjoyed Doctor Strange a lot and would rate it somewhere near the top of the Marvel saga as another fun movie to add to the growing universe that I enjoy watching repeatedly. The action scenes are like nothing I've seen on the screen before with a great expansion on visuals that other films attempted but not at such a fun pace. I enjoy the connection of each film so was pleased when it was revealed how this film plays into the greater story and looking forward to the next edition in the Marvel Universe.

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